A frightening train accident kills over 30 in Egypt

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The still provisional toll of a collision between two passenger trains in the southern province of Sohag, in Egypt, is at least 32 dead and 66 injured, according to the Cairo Ministry of Health. The images show several wagons overturned at the crash site, which is 460 km from the capital. Dozens of people trapped. More than 30 ambulances were sent to the scene.

The Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has promised a “dissuasive punishment” for those responsible for the train accident: “Anyone who caused this painful accident through negligence or corruption or for any other reason should receive a dissuasive sanction, without exception or delays,” he wrote on his Twitter profile.

The Egyptian Minister of Transport, Kamel El-Wazir, went to the site of the train accident, asking for the arrest of the two drivers and the establishment of a technical committee to ascertain the causes of the collision between convoys. The Egyptian Minister of Health, Hala Zayed, also arrived at the site of the train disaster in Tahat. “Some individuals activated the emergency brakes” on one of the two trains involved in the serious train accident in Sohag governorate in central Egypt. This was announced by the Egyptian Railway Authority, explaining that this action stopped the movement of one of the trains, which was then hit by the second train arriving from behind.

The country’s chief prosecutor, Hamada al Sawi, ordered an urgent investigation into the incident immediately. Some videos released on social media show the wagons reduced to a heap of sheets and desperate people asking for help. It is not the first train accident to occur in Egypt.

The collision between the two passenger trains in the Tahta district is just the latest in a series of fatal accidents in Egypt in recent years, often caused by inadequate infrastructure and poor maintenance. Among the worst, the one that occurred in 2002 when 373 people died from a fire that broke out in a crowded train overloaded with Islamic pilgrims in al-Ayat, about fifty kilometers south of the capital Cairo.

In 2017, there were 1,793 accidents across the country. In 2018, a passenger train derailed near the city of Aswan, injuring 6 people and leading to the resignation of the Railways. In the capital, in March 2020, a crash left 13 injured and caused a national stop to traffic, while in February 2019 a train derailed and caught fire at one of the city’s main stations, killing 20 people and leading to the resignation of the Minister of Transport.

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